VIDEO REMARKS: Statewide Trails Conference

Thank you for allowing me to speaking with you today and I am sorry I cannot be with you in person.  I hope you are making the most of your time in Wasilla, having a little fun where you can, and working together to find resolution to keep our trails alive and well across our beautiful state.  Our trails are a constant opportunity to access more and more of the great beauty of Alaska, particularly as spring entices more and more of us to get outdoors.

Trails are a vital part of the fabric of Alaska life. In some of our most rural areas, as you know, communities would not be connected if it were not for our trails. These are our rural roads, and a part of our state’s rugged outdoor identity.  Our trails are how we access our hunting and recreational cabins via snow machine in the winter and four wheelers in the summer.

But trails are increasingly becoming a bigger part of our daily lives in our more urban areas, as well. Some of us choose to commute to work on fancy "fat tire" bikes throughout the winter – one of the members of my Anchorage office takes his bike to work just about every day.  Others in the cities just want to enjoy a memorable hike with family and friends.

For all of you here today, the work you do is important for both the novice and experienced trail user. You help to keep our trails safe with the ongoing maintenance you do, as well as providing new experiences through your work with historic water trails.  Thank you so much for your dedication to our trail systems and for helping to keep the history of our trails in Alaska vibrant for Alaskans and visitors to our great state alike.

As you know, our federal surface transportation legislation, currently known as MAP-21 is due to expire this fall at the end of September.  Throughout our discussions in Washington, I will work to support your efforts to keep our trail systems a priority –and I am sure that this week’s event will feature constructive discussions regarding federal programing for trails that will inform the DC conversation. 

Again, thank you for the work you do and I look forward to seeing you out on one of our trails.